Alternative Oxidase (AOX) Senses Stress Levels to Coordinate Auxin-Induced Reprogramming From Seed Germination to Somatic Embryogenesis—A Role Relevant for Seed Vigor Prediction and Plant Robustness

Mohanapriya, Gunasekaran; Bharadwaj, Revuru; Noceda, Carlos; Costa, José Hélio; Kumar, Sarma Rajeev; Sathishkumar, Ramalingam; Thiers, Karine Leitão Lima; Santos Macedo, Elisete; Silva, Sofia; Annicchiarico, Paolo; Groot, Steven P.C.; Kodde, Jan; Kumari, Aprajita; Gupta, Kapuganti Jagadis; Arnholdt-Schmitt, Birgit


Somatic embryogenesis (SE) is the most striking and prominent example of plant plasticity upon severe stress. Inducing immature carrot seeds perform SE as substitute to germination by auxin treatment can be seen as switch between stress levels associated to morphophysiological plasticity. This experimental system is highly powerful to explore stress response factors that mediate the metabolic switch between cell and tissue identities. Developmental plasticity per se is an emerging trait for in vitro systems and crop improvement. It is supposed to underlie multi-stress tolerance. High plasticity can protect plants throughout life cycles against variable abiotic and biotic conditions. We provide proof of concepts for the existing hypothesis that alternative oxidase (AOX) can be relevant for developmental plasticity and be associated to yield stability. Our perspective on AOX as relevant coordinator of cell reprogramming is supported by real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analyses and gross metabolism data from calorespirometry complemented by SHAM-inhibitor studies on primed, elevated partial pressure of oxygen (EPPO)–stressed, and endophyte-treated seeds. In silico studies on public experimental data from diverse species strengthen generality of our insights. Finally, we highlight ready-to-use concepts for plant selection and optimizing in vivo and in vitro propagation that do not require further details on molecular physiology and metabolism. This is demonstrated by applying our research & technology concepts to pea genotypes with differential yield performance in multilocation fields and chickpea types known for differential robustness in the field. By using these concepts and tools appropriately, also other marker candidates than AOX and complex genomics data can be efficiently validated for prebreeding and seed vigor prediction